Like John & George, whose images we published recently, Tim was another of the guests that joined me & Dan for the Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo Photography Tour during July of Summer 2019 – as you will see further down, Tim has a bit more of a ‘raptor thing’ going on, with the harriers, he’s my sort of chap! He did, however, capture some images of some rather splendid other species, including the hare at the top of this blog posting!
One of the species that was really seeing some action in the mid-part of the week, meaning that I sadly missed it, that was the European Roller
, there is a trio of hides on the estate of El Taray for this species, however, European Roller also frequents the water holes, bathing to remove the sand & dust from their feathers.
It is also not uncommon to find European Rollers
causing grief & hassle to other species, the Lesser Kestrels
appear to be a favourite target, with the Rollers frequently buzzing the farm buildings that house the Lesser Kestrel
colony, this rattles the parents, in turn causing uplift of them from the roof & inevitable conflict. In the second image above, you can see how small
the Lesser Kestrel
is, compared to a European Roller
What arrives at the water holes spread across the estate is always a surprise, although sometimes the quantity in which they come makes for an amusing image – assuming the birds have a degree of coordination – which the group of Spanish Sparrows
shown above certainly did!
Now, the raptors, Tim spent several sessions in the general raptor hides & also those dedicated to the harriers
, resulting in some fabulous images of the various harriers of the estate. Specifically, at the dedicated harrier hide
, many types of interaction can be observed & photographed, during a session, one or two of the bolder birds will come into the perches, but shortly after, several more will arrive, & in typical fashion, fighting for the food on offer will begin, with birds mobbing one & other, approaching with wings out-stretched to intimidate one & other or simply launching themselves at one & other. The dedicated harrier hide is a hide that rarely sees little action.
Being relatively large birds, the harriers
are slower than some on their approach to land on the outcrops or the perches, meaning that impressive imagery can be captured with their wings at full stretch
As I have said previously, in my opinion, this Lesser Kestrel colony in Toledo is unbeatable, the sheer number of birds, the quality of the hides, the constant action, the ability to have perches moved & hides altered, makes it pretty much without parallel.
Tim visited the hides that look out onto the Lesser Kestrel colony a number of times, the hides are at roof level;
there is a pair, one of the hides looks down a lengthy side-building, the other looks out onto a face-on roof literally a few feet in front of you, for this reason alone, two visits are highly recommended
, plus there are bathing pools in a rocky outcrop & perches that the adult birds make use of.
As I mentioned in previous blog posts, the hoopoe
was ramping up in activity just as I was leaving mid-way through the week, so I missed a great series of opportunities – I will likely return in Summer 2020 to try my luck again. However, Tim took advantage of these opportunities & captured some lovely images; the image of one of the adult birds feeding a young hoopoe
is especially stunning
As we near the end of this fantastic set of images; above, we have a pair of images of the beautiful Iberian Hares
, that at the time of year that we visited seemed to be everywhere on the vast estate & made themselves known at the water holes, presenting some beautiful opportunities in soft light with a muted background that makes this mammal look stunning. Finally, below we have a trio of images of the Stone Curlew
which put on a real show for each guest that used the hides which overlooked this water hole. The visits of the Stone Curlews presented our guests with opportunities to capture images of the birds drinking, bathing & more.
PHOTOGRAPH THE SPANISH WILDLIFE & BIRDLIFE OF THE ESTATE OF EL TARAY YOURSELF
To photograph the Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo yourself, join David, in Spain during June & July 2020 for a trip lasting seven nights. This photography tour to the estate of El Taray is ideal for photographing a wide variety of Spanish Birds, including common buzzard, common reed warbler, common sandpiper, crested lark, hoopoe, Iberian hare, lesser kestrel, little owl, harriers of varying type, spotless starling, starling, stone curlew, wild rabbit & more besides!
The photography tour is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 5 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Alan. Until September 13th 2019, there is a special offer reducing the price to £2249 available
All the details of the Spanish Birdlife of Toledo photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page